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The first dusting of snow for the Eastern Sierra came right on schedule last weekend, heralding the arrival of the Autumnal Equinox.
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area took on a few inches of snow, golden aspens turned a deeper gold, flowers shriveled on their stalks and gardeners across the county rushed to cover their cucumbers and late-ripening squash as temperatures dipped into the mid-twenties by Thursday morning.
It is, however, probably a good idea not to get too excited about it all.
After this week, warm and dry conditions are headed to the Eastern Sierra and could last a while, according to Howard Sheckter, Mammoth’s ace amateur weather forecaster.
“It’s going to turn sunny Thursday after a cold night and a possible dusting of snow Wednesday night, and the weekend will warm up quickly,” he said.
“By next week, the temperatures will be close to 70 degrees.”
Sheckter’s forecast was echoed by the National Weather Service, whose meteorologist, Zach Tolby said he sees a quick return to warm and dry conditions after Friday.
He declined to forecast the weather past next week, but Sheckter took a stab at it.
After next week, the long-term patterns do not appear to favor a wet October, or even November, at this time, he said.
“Early October, at least, will be quiet,” he said, “Then, it could stay quiet for quite a while.”
That said, he said he still expects a good winter—just not necessarily an early winter.
“There could be a break in this pattern in December,” he said. “There is a developing El Niño which will become a factor.”
Another promising factor is that the patterns that allowed the storm track to be blocked for much of last winter are not as prevalent as last year, he said.
“This will allow more storms to come through, instead of bottling them up,” he said.
“Things can change,” he said.